WELCOME GUEST  |  LOG IN
hamptons local events, express news group
27east.com

Story - News

Sep 14, 2010 7:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village begins search for Parrish Art Museum replacement

Sep 14, 2010 7:01 PM

With ground now broken on the Parrish Art Museum’s future site in Water Mill and the gallery’s departure from Southampton Village set for 2012, village officials are weighing potential future uses for the museum’s current Jobs Lane address, and the idea of an integrated interdisciplinary arts center is gaining traction.

Rather than specialize in one artistic discipline, the facility could be much more multifaceted, village officials said. Instead of a museum housing permanent collections of paintings, sculptures and photographs, or a theater hosting a company-in-residence, the space could also feature dance, theater, film, music and other arts—a rotating arrangement that would attract artists and performers from outside organizations and operate with minimal full-time staff.

The idea is relatively nontraditional, but full of potential, according to J. Whitney Stevens, an executive vice president in product development at Citi, who has been involved in informal discussions with Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, Planning Commission Chairman Siamak Samii and Southampton Cultural Center Chairman and Planning Commission member Thomas Knight. Ms. Stevens, the chairwoman of the New York Foundation for the Arts in Brooklyn and a former member of the drawing acquisition committee at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, presented her multidisciplinary vision at the Planning Commission’s meeting earlier this month.

“This is all about leveraging all that’s vibrant about the East End arts community to create another venue where any number of arts organizations can come and present their work,” said Ms. Stevens, an art collector.

Her presentation suggested that organizations like the New York Foundation for the Arts might be interested in curating shows or holding concerts at the venue. She also said the Parrish Art Museum might like to display some exhibits there and Manhattan’s Joyce Theater could potentially offer dance performances at the venue.

Ms. Stevens added that the closest comparison she could think of to her idea is the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which offers a variety of arts programming. Ideally, the gallery space would make good use of technology, such as online ticketing services, and require only a few employees, she said.

Though planning for the Parrish Art Museum’s successor is just beginning in earnest, village officials say they are being mindful of the historic village-owned museum building and its central role as an anchor to the newly formed Southampton Village Arts District, which is part of the village’s master plan.

The officials, along with village grants coordinator Jen Mesiano, have resurrected a request for proposal process begun two years ago when the Parrish Art Museum started indicating that its move was imminent. They expect a revised version of the plan to be ready within approximately one month. According to a draft of the request provided by Mr. Samii, its purpose is to seek “proposals from qualified consultants to conduct a community-wide culture and arts visioning process and preparation of detailed recommendations for the re-use” of the property. It adds that innovative approaches should be considered and that a “strong perspective on the direction of the arts (cutting across visual and performing arts) and the opportunity to partner with other arts organizations to support programming development and delivery” are important.

The draft also notes that the village arts district was formed “to solidify and anchor Southampton Village as an arts destination and to facilitate the production of multimedia arts events with broad representation and cultural diversity,” and that the consultant selected should plan for the re-use of the building within the greater scope of the arts district.

Founded by Samuel Longstreth Parrish in 1897 as the first art museum in Southampton, the Parrish Art Museum now occupies 17,000 square feet of space on land that measures just under 3 acres in the heart of the village. The museum does not pay the village rent.

Though he stressed that a decision has not yet been made, Mr. Epley said the village has not ruled out charging future tenants rent. “How a deal gets structured with an occupant is wide open at this point,” he said, adding that a number of structural issues with the aging building will have to be addressed in a future engineering study.

Under the model presented by Ms. Stevens, the building’s new occupant would serve as a nonprofit organization that is sponsored by the village and a group of donors. “The thought being that [the village] wouldn’t be charging rent, because that, essentially, would be charging itself,” she said.

Getting up and running will be the greatest challenge, Ms. Stevens said, and will require an initial investment before income can be generated through ticket sales and other means.

Officials have praised the building’s central location and convenient access, and pointed to the availability of parking in a nearby lot, though they acknowledge that the building needs some renovation. They would also like to see the grounds better used as open public space, so that arts exhibits, for example, can “spill over” to the outdoors.

1  |  2  >>  

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Thats a great Idea!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 17, 10 6:31 AM
Glad to hear that the current talk revolves around keeping this as an art/cultural center.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 17, 10 8:21 AM
does that include the old library building?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Sep 17, 10 9:00 AM
The parish art museum will not have its same importance located in watermill. An art museum in the middle of a potatoe field does not have the same class as being located on jobs lane. How did the village allow this move to happen in the first place. Do you think people will actually go to watermill to see art?
By Walt (292), Southampton on Sep 18, 10 3:46 PM
Before we get all warm and fuzzy about what will go into the Parrish Building lets look at what should stay. The Parrish building and grounds were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Parrish to the residents of Southampton Village. In the early 50's they had to be "bailed" out by the village residents and a committee of village residents ran the thing. Then in the late 50's some one had a brilliant idea to incorperate the committee and co op the Parrish name. All the money's contributed and collected from then ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 18, 10 3:49 PM
Bob,
You have alot of istory and valid points. You should address a letter to the Mayor and the village board. Sounds like th eName should stay and an accounting is in order. The accounting may provide income for the maintenance of the building. It is also my understaing that the Village did all it could to maintain the museum here but the museum trustees viewed that differently. Its certainly a travesty and all the money they put into new construction certanly could have fixed th eold building ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 19, 10 6:53 AM
I've spoken to two mayors and numerous trustees. Challenging the "Parrish" organization while the politcs of their expansion was a non starter. After they decided to move it was wait and see if they find an appropiate site. Then it was lets see if they get approval and then all their finances in order. ow that they have broken ground I just its is a reality and out of the politcal footall arena. Lets see what proposals come from the new vision plan.
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 19, 10 2:56 PM
Bob, the museum is gone, accepting that fact will allow one to think clearer. Rehashing history is the easy part, coming up with a solution to the ''here and now'' is where the tough get going. The answer is getting a co-operative in place, owned by 200 or so families that are the first to sign up and donate the $1200 co-op fee. There is $250k right there to invest into conversion into something that benefits the community. but how? elect a board of the cooperative and use it to highlight local ...more
By IcanCnovember (15), Southampton on Sep 19, 10 3:45 PM
I agree that the museum is gone and have for a long time. What irks me is that the name has been taken and the cash from all the not so truthful fund raising is gone. We are going to do great things with the Parrish grounds and your ideas for a co-opertative community arts center is a great start, however lets learn from past mistakes and not allow the Ladies Beautification committee or any other organization to fund raise in the name of a philantropist (Samuel Parrish) and become so politically ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 8:16 AM
The Revival of the Parrish Art Museum was begun in the early summer of 1952 by one of the most respected member of the summer colony, Mrs. Littlejohn. She was tired of seeing it, the building and the art collection, being benignly neglected. Mrs. Littlejohn was one of the gracious, well mannered, caring ladies who quietly llived in her summer "cottage" in the estate section. She had known Mr. Parrish and his family. One correction Mr. Parrish's wife was not in the picture when Mr. Parrish decided ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 20, 10 3:09 PM
Thanks for the historical clarification. There have been several time lines and narratives that I heard surrounding the Parrish. But you have made my point, that the name was originally given with the grounds and the library to the Village residents of Southampton. Mrs. Littlejohn and her committee of interested women "bought" the name instead of philanthropically giving the Parrish the "wherewithall to get the job done". All the solicitations for support never sought to clarify that fact. What ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 6:56 PM
Mrs. Littlejohn did not "buy" the name. I was ther that afternoon when her chauffer drove her up to the front parking space. He ran around to open the door for her. She was using a cane and she came up the steps looking the building over. As she passed me she said "I've come to see Mr. Sam's musuem". Mrs. Littlejohn knew Mr. Parrish and his family as members of her social group.
For people who did not live in the village 60 years ago let me just say the "summer people" were different than ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 20, 10 7:39 PM
So what you are saying summertime is that the committe that Mrs. Littlejohn created for philanthropic reasons was then taken over by other's that now own the name and all the art collected in that name. Again thanks for the historical facts but again you make my point. Because of finacial need an organization was created with the best of intent to revitalize the Parrish and the property, however at some time those whose intentions are for the community get replaced by those that want more from their ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 21, 10 8:47 AM
Bob Schepps, You are so right. You are doubly correct when you surmise that Mr. Samuel Parrish would NOT want to see his name taken out of the Village. In fact before he died Mr. Parrish self published a detailed small red leather book setting out first his genealogy, second the genesis of his museum and his hope for it's future. It contains a letter to the first board of Trustees. The book also contains pictures of Mr. Sam and his family. I wonder if the present Parrish Trustees have or have read ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 21, 10 9:22 AM
Who has a copy of that small red book. If someone can get a copy to the Historical museum and get it in the hands of the Village trustees it will help to make our point that the name and wishes of Sam Parrish be respected. It would also help if there ever was a law suit over the name. Although with the polictical clout the Parrish organization has garnered over the years I think no real attempt will be made. Thanks for the help.
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 21, 10 10:14 AM
I was told the Parrish Trustees had a copy. It should be in their files as I know one book was sent to The Parrish Art Museum Trustees.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 21, 10 9:02 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Sep 21, 10 10:14 AM
I bet there is a Starbucks there within a couple of years.

Not the whole place, but a small area, like the NFB/Starbucks in Manorville
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 21, 10 11:40 AM
That would really be a kick in the butt as the Trustees desire for a cafe is what derailed all their plans for expansion on Jobs Lane.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 21, 10 9:00 PM